I’m all out of prayers. Thoughts are similarly fleeting and useless.
“But the Founders!” you exclaim.
Those founders who took this land by gun and by blanket may have indeed intended us to defend that land should foreign invaders try taking it. The last actual land war in this country ended in 1865 – since then, any strike has been concentrated and unlikely to have been prevented by the mythical good guy with a gun.
Let’s go back to the American Civil War – or, if you prefer, The War Between The States. No matter your opinion on the justification for that conflict, there’s no disputing that it was the bloodiest war on American soil ever.
A quick search tells me that somewhere around two hundred thousand souls perished over the four years our country was riven with battles over a peculiar institution. Rough math puts that body count at fifty thousand per year of the war.
Taking a look at data from the National Center for Health Statistics published in 2018 – roughly 38,000 lives were taken at the barrel of a gun that year. Other reports show an increase in 2020 (a year many of us stayed inside by the way) to 45,000 gun deaths.
Point your thoughts to that. In 2020, we fought not at Antietam or Gettysburg – but in our supermarkets, workplaces, and in our elementary schools.
I’ve noticed that our kids don’t take as many field trips as I did when I was growing up. Why should they? They don’t need to visit a famous battleground when the battleground can come right to their classroom.
Who is responsible for these deaths?
The tired line – one I’ve probably used as well – is that guns don’t kill people, but people do. Technically, that’s true – it takes someone with a finger to use that gun to kill someone.
But we’ve successfully prosecuted other companies before for making a product that – when delivered to the end user, at least – is perfectly harmless. I’m talking tobacco.
After all, a cigarette is completely safe when sitting on a shelf, or inside of the pack. It’s not until the end user flicks a trigger on the Bic or Zippo that the cigarette becomes a little weapon of flame and cancer. And yet we found the fortitude to collectively prosecute and punish the tobacco producing industry for using misleading marketing to promote products that kill.
We can do it again. The gun industry has been telling us for years that we need to defend our way of life – to defend these lands that our forefathers stole – at the end of a barrel. They’ve been stoking fear and selling a lifestyle much as Joe Cool once did.
Paraphrasing Lincoln at Gettysburg – we cannot simply consecrate the ground upon which our children have been slain. It is for us, the living, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work of our children.
I’m all out of prayers. Thoughts and tears come and go. We must honor our dead with the resolve that they shall have not died in vain.